Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Monday said those upset by his disputed landslide election victory could “go hang”.
The 89-year-old vowed never to let go of his victory as his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai lodged a petition in court challenging the election outcome.
“Those who were hurt by defeat can go hang if they so wish,” Mr Mugabe told thousands at a rally to honour heroes of the country’s liberation wars.
“Never will we go back on our victory,” he said in his first public address since the July 31 vote.
Mr Mugabe was declared the winner with 61 per cent of the ballots, against Mr Tsvangirai’s 34 per cent.
He insisted that the Zimbabwean people’s choice in government was clear.
“We are delivering democracy on a platter. We say take it or leave it, but the people have delivered democracy,” he said.
Mr Tsvangirai meanwhile vowed to expose “glaring evidence of the stolen vote” through a court bid.
His lawyers on Friday filed a petition at the Constitutional Court challenging the poll, which extended Mr Mugabe’s 33-year rule by another five years.
“All I can see is a nation in mourning over the audacity of so few to steal from so many,” he said in a statement.
But “the thief left so much evidence at the scene of crime as we shall expose in the people’s petition that we filed last week”.
The elections were to end a shaky power-sharing government formed by Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to avoid a tip into conflict in the aftermath of a bloody run-off election in 2008.
Mr Tsvangirai’s defeat has relegated his Movement for Democratic Change back to the opposition benches.
Local observers have called the polls flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote.
However, regional organisations the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) were less critical.
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